Crackdown on illegal Torfaen off-road biking

South Wales Argus: Garn Yr Erw  in north Blaenavon following Off road vehicle damage Garn Yr Erw in north Blaenavon following Off road vehicle damage

FARMERS in and around the Blaenavon World Heritage Site have voiced concerns over rapidly escalating damage to common land caused by illegal off-road bikers.

The damage to Coity, Mynydd James and Mulfran is mirrored on the other side of the valley, and is caused by the illegal use of four-by-four vehicles and scrambler bikes which erode the ground and disturb grazing livestock.

They also destroy vulnerable habitats including that of the ground nesting Lapwing which are a protected species and listed as a species of principal importance for Wales.

Torfaen Council have also had reports that dead livestock and birds have been found following off-road activity.

Taking action on behalf of farmers in the area is Anita Banks, who brother, Anthony Price, farms in the area.

She wrote a letter to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, last week.

She wrote that the use of illegal off road vehicles “has now become so personally intimidating and threatening that my brother fears that he is fast losing the control as custodian of the common land”.

She said this fear is echoed in Cwmtillery, Nantyglo, Varteg, Brynithel and Blaenavon.

One incident that she highlights in the letter is that while sheep were being gathered in order to earmark this year’s lambs, seven off road bikes drove through the middle of the flock.

She added: “The natural beauty, ecology, flora and fauna and archaeological history is being destroyed by mindless illegal off road activities - scarring the landscape for miles and miles.

“The scarring to the land of the tracks and rut will take years to recover.”

Following the letter, a meeting is currently being arranged with farmers and police.

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said it is illegal to ride an off-road bike on common land, the only place you can ride legally is on private land with the land owners permission.

She added: “We are currently carrying out illegal off road operations every weekend across the Pontypool area to deter and apprehend offenders. “

Anyone who has been affected by illegal off-road biking can contact their local neighbourhood officer or call police on 101.

Comments (6)

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9:56am Wed 21 May 14

Good Job No Kids says...

"A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said it is illegal to ride an off-road bike on common land, the only place you can ride legally is on private land with the land owners permission"

That's not entirely accurate, a lot of the off road bikes are road registered and their are hundreds of miles of legal green lanes running through such land.

Don't tar all with the same brush just because of a handful of idiots.
"A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said it is illegal to ride an off-road bike on common land, the only place you can ride legally is on private land with the land owners permission" That's not entirely accurate, a lot of the off road bikes are road registered and their are hundreds of miles of legal green lanes running through such land. Don't tar all with the same brush just because of a handful of idiots. Good Job No Kids
  • Score: 2

2:06pm Wed 21 May 14

Woodgnome says...

in fact "Legal" bikers do untold damage to green lanes.
in fact "Legal" bikers do untold damage to green lanes. Woodgnome
  • Score: 2

4:29pm Wed 21 May 14

Bobevans says...

Good Job No Kids wrote:
"A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said it is illegal to ride an off-road bike on common land, the only place you can ride legally is on private land with the land owners permission"

That's not entirely accurate, a lot of the off road bikes are road registered and their are hundreds of miles of legal green lanes running through such land.

Don't tar all with the same brush just because of a handful of idiots.
Such lanes are not public rights of way and it is an offence to use motor vehicles on them. The riders face prosecution and confiscation of the bikes
[quote][p][bold]Good Job No Kids[/bold] wrote: "A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said it is illegal to ride an off-road bike on common land, the only place you can ride legally is on private land with the land owners permission" That's not entirely accurate, a lot of the off road bikes are road registered and their are hundreds of miles of legal green lanes running through such land. Don't tar all with the same brush just because of a handful of idiots.[/p][/quote]Such lanes are not public rights of way and it is an offence to use motor vehicles on them. The riders face prosecution and confiscation of the bikes Bobevans
  • Score: 4

5:39pm Wed 21 May 14

Woodgnome says...

Quadruple the excise duty on off road bikes and double the size of the number plate. Old bikes should be crushed.
Quadruple the excise duty on off road bikes and double the size of the number plate. Old bikes should be crushed. Woodgnome
  • Score: 0

4:46pm Thu 22 May 14

woodywoodwood says...

That's ridiculous! bikes only use paths and lanes that the farmer uses on his quad! one rule for one and another rule for others? All the years I've been riding bikes and I have always seen bikes slow down and where its possible, avoid sheep.

why are farmers aloud to let their sheep roam the mountains, roads and streets. If I let my dog roam the mountain and Mr Jones seen it he would shoot it dead like he has done to one of my family members dog! But if a sheep comes into my garden eating all the plants and my dog kills it, he would have something to say about that!

It infuriates me that this vile human being that drives around the mountain shooting peoples dogs gets so upset about a few people spending THIER weekend enjoying the welsh countryside sat on a bike.

Lets just get on thing straight, Mr Jones DOES NOT own the mountain. in fact no owns the mountain! Its there for everyone to enjoy not for him to graze his sheep. And if anyone goes up the mountain you can clearly see that the tracks and ruts are made from HIS quad not bikes. Who the hell gives him permission to drive his quad up the mountain?

Every ones happy just to sit on their arse read rubbish like this, and jump to the conclusion that off road bikers are thugs. Bikes cost a lot of money and are generally the pride and joy of the owner. They are not reckless on them and also looks after them very well. Generally bikers hold down a good job and are very respectful to the mountain and others.

I think the police needs a serious wake up call and realise that there are real criminals out there mugging, stabbing and robbing people. And they are worried about a few people riding on the mountains. What would you rather for you child? Hanging around shops on the weekend waiting for someone who looks dodgy enough to go in the shop and get them drink or for them to go out on their bikes all day and hopefully if they are good enough make a career out of it? This society makes me sick! We live in a town that offers nothing except the odd ex convict who is put here because they cant go back to where they are from!

Mr Jones and Gwent police needs their heads banged together for being so thick!
That's ridiculous! bikes only use paths and lanes that the farmer uses on his quad! one rule for one and another rule for others? All the years I've been riding bikes and I have always seen bikes slow down and where its possible, avoid sheep. why are farmers aloud to let their sheep roam the mountains, roads and streets. If I let my dog roam the mountain and Mr Jones seen it he would shoot it dead like he has done to one of my family members dog! But if a sheep comes into my garden eating all the plants and my dog kills it, he would have something to say about that! It infuriates me that this vile human being that drives around the mountain shooting peoples dogs gets so upset about a few people spending THIER weekend enjoying the welsh countryside sat on a bike. Lets just get on thing straight, Mr Jones DOES NOT own the mountain. in fact no owns the mountain! Its there for everyone to enjoy not for him to graze his sheep. And if anyone goes up the mountain you can clearly see that the tracks and ruts are made from HIS quad not bikes. Who the hell gives him permission to drive his quad up the mountain? Every ones happy just to sit on their arse read rubbish like this, and jump to the conclusion that off road bikers are thugs. Bikes cost a lot of money and are generally the pride and joy of the owner. They are not reckless on them and also looks after them very well. Generally bikers hold down a good job and are very respectful to the mountain and others. I think the police needs a serious wake up call and realise that there are real criminals out there mugging, stabbing and robbing people. And they are worried about a few people riding on the mountains. What would you rather for you child? Hanging around shops on the weekend waiting for someone who looks dodgy enough to go in the shop and get them drink or for them to go out on their bikes all day and hopefully if they are good enough make a career out of it? This society makes me sick! We live in a town that offers nothing except the odd ex convict who is put here because they cant go back to where they are from! Mr Jones and Gwent police needs their heads banged together for being so thick! woodywoodwood
  • Score: 0

3:52pm Wed 28 May 14

poppyxx says...

In response to woody, i have never heard such utter drivel in all my life. You obviously don't know your facts. The mountains are owned , the mountains surrounding Blaenau Gwent are owned by James, Jones and Henton, The Duke of Beaufort and Walters group.

The main reason sheep are wandering around the town is because the off road bikers continually cut the fences to gain access onto the mountain, this is another ongoing problem.

As for children enjoying the mountain the last time I took my children up onto our local mountain they where frightened to death by the off road bikes roaring past us, believe me it was not an enjoyable event.

After reading your post i can easily say its not the police or Mr Jones who are thick, its definitely you !!!!!
In response to woody, i have never heard such utter drivel in all my life. You obviously don't know your facts. The mountains are owned , the mountains surrounding Blaenau Gwent are owned by James, Jones and Henton, The Duke of Beaufort and Walters group. The main reason sheep are wandering around the town is because the off road bikers continually cut the fences to gain access onto the mountain, this is another ongoing problem. As for children enjoying the mountain the last time I took my children up onto our local mountain they where frightened to death by the off road bikes roaring past us, believe me it was not an enjoyable event. After reading your post i can easily say its not the police or Mr Jones who are thick, its definitely you !!!!! poppyxx
  • Score: -1

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